Brief Introduction
Sub Units
Culture Bureaus
Zhejiang Culture & Art
Culture Themes
In Zhejiang Province, Buddhism was the most influential of all religions. On temple fair in the countryside, there were many Buddhist dances as part of the Buddhist ceremony. In Ningbo, Ayu King Temple, Tian Tong (heavenly child) Temple as well as Qi Ta (seven pagoda) Temple all kept Buddist rhymed formula of more than a hundred yoga poses; the pagoda of Yan Qing Temple of Songyang, built in 979, had picures of arhats and flying asparas on the wall, with the latter as vivid as those of Tang Dynasty.
         In Southern Song Dynasty, the She group gradually moved from Fujian Province to Zhejiang, hence the increasing show of She dance in the sacrificial ceremonies to ancestors.
         During Southern Song Dynasty, on one hand, the folk dances flourished. On the other hand, people kept looking for better artistic form to image the comprehensive real life. As a result, the art of opera emerged. And it was at this time that some singing-and-dancing turned into operas.
    Southern Opera originated from Za-Ju of Wenzhou (alia Yongjia Za Ju). Wenzhou was called Dong'ou in the ancient times and was well known for their advocacy of singing-and-dancing. The opera researchers say, "these popular singing-and-dancing programs was bound to find their way into the early operas" (A Prove into Southern Opera edited by Art Research Office of Wenzhou). Singing-and-dancing had their great impact on opera and in turn was greatly influenced by the artistic features of opera. This mutual influence of the two lasted from Southern Song Dynasty until now.
    In Ming and Qing dynasties, the feudal society waned from its height of power and splendor. The dogmatic Confucian school, who tried every way to maintain the feudal ethical codes, put chains to further development of dances. In addition, after absorbing useful elements in the communication with Za-Ju of the north in Yuan Dynasty, the Southern Opera reached its unprecedented zenith and fully developed into the legend operas of Ming Dynasty. The development of Zhejiang dance came to a period of stagnancy, as audience was attracted to the sponging, changing and colorful operas. However, generally speaking, the dances still experienced a favorable turn from the strict restriction in Yuan Dynasty.
    The characteristic of dances of this period was that dances for just performance became rare and made place for the operas which could manifest the complex social life. But at the same time, there were more dances for self-entertainment, such as those in Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, "Shai Hui (contest meetings)" and "Shi Ri (fair's day)".
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